CBC licence-renewal process delayed by CRTC

The federal broadcast regulator has postponed hearings to renew broadcast licences for CBC/Radio-Canada until next year.

The federal broadcast regulator has postponed hearings to renew broadcast licences for CBC/Radio-Canada until next year.

Numerous interveners have requested a postponement to the licence renewal process, which had been scheduled to take place after a series of public hearings this fall. Now the hearings, held across the country, are set to begin June 4, 2012.

"We were formally advised about the delay today," CBC president Hubert Lacroix said in a statement released Friday. "This was not requested by CBC/Radio Canada."

The Canadian Media Production Association, the Documentary Organization of Canada and the Quebec English-language Production Committee are among those who say they need more information from the public broadcaster to make their submissions to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

They have requested more information about CBC spending on independent production, including the number of projects and production spending by region. They say they have more complete information from the private broadcasters.

CBC has provided all the information requested by the CRTC, but can comply with requests for more detail, a CBC spokesman said Friday. 

Other groups, including the Writers Guild of Canada and actors' union ACTRA, have requested more time to prepare a public submission to the CRTC.

In a news release Friday, the CRTC also said it would be "inappropriate to impose licence conditions" when CBC/Radio-Canada faces financial uncertainty over its parliamentary allocation.

It said it has been advised by the public broadcaster that "the federal government has not yet established its future operating budget."

CBC traditionally does not know how much it will receive in its parliamentary allocation until a federal budget is filed. There has been no new development in public funding for the public broadcaster, the CBC spokesman said.

"The delay means we have one more year to implement our strategy and show it to the CRTC and Canadians," he said.